Offended may be too soft a word to describe the reaction Councilman Danny Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) had when a staffer showed him a poster he saw on Roosevelt Avenue promoting a comedy show last weekend featuring performers in black face and dressed in drag.
“It’s disgusting and offensive,” he said at a press conference outside the Boulevard restaurant “It’s racist, homophobic, transphobic and doesn’t belong in this community.”
The posters were placed all over Jackson Heights, East Elmhurst, Elmhurst and Corona promoting “Recarguesa de Risa,” a comedy show led by Colombian comedian El Mono Sanchez this past Sunday at Boulevard at 82-22 Northern Blvd. in Jackson Heights.
At the press conference last Friday outside Boulevard, where he was joined by Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras (D-East Elmhurst), the NAACP, Queens Pride Committee and other area officials, Dromm tore up one of the posers.
Ferreras rejected assertions that the show was not offensive, but common for Sanchez, a popular comedian in Latin America. She noted that while Sanchez’ humor is commonly known in the Latino community, it is not a good representative of that culture to the outside world.
“This is not a Latino thing, because when people walk through here from any culture or any community, they would be appalled to see this,” Ferreras said. “For someone who does not read Spanish, has no idea what this is, you see these faces. What does this say to us and what does this say to the community? It’s disgusting.”
Jessica Ramos, a Democratic district leader from Jackson Heights, explained that the show is especially offensive to Afro-Colombians and LGBT Colombians because Sanchez comes from a province in Western Colombia where cruel treatment of both groups is common. Many of them fled to the United States and settled in Jackson Heights and Corona.
“We strive to prove to the world everyday that coexistence is not only possible, but it works,” she said. “This is not OK. This does not fly here. The worst part about this is the part of Colombia where [Sanchez[ hails from is the same part of Colombia where my family comes from. We have a sizable Afro-Colombian population and a sizable gay population and we have serious problems with paramilitary groups attacking Afro-Colombians on the Pacific Coast of Colombia. This guy should know better.”
Dromm further suggested that he was not sure Boulevard had the correct permits to hold a show of this size. The building has a long list of violations with the city Department of Buildings, though the vast majority of them date back to a previous owner.
A man who answered the phone at Boulevard Monday evening refused to give his name or answer questions.
Sanchez could not be reached for comment, and according to his Twitter feed, returned to Colombia on Monday.